A generator is a must-have for homeowners, especially in areas with frequent bad weather and power outages. Having a reliable source of electricity can make all the difference during emergencies or even for everyday use, such as powering construction projects or camping trips. However, more than simply purchasing a generator is required. It’s crucial to consider the appropriate accessories to improve the generator’s operation, use, and longevity if you want to maximize your investment. This article will discuss some of the best generator accessories and what to consider when selecting them. Whether you’re looking to prepare for emergencies or enjoy outdoor adventures, these accessories can help you get the most out of your generator.
Must Have Generator Accessories
Any backup power system needs a transfer switch as a key component. This device lets you switch between your primary power source and a backup generator during an outage. Without a transfer switch, connecting your generator directly to your home’s electrical system can cause serious injury, damage to your home’s electrical system, and even death.
- Transfer switches come in two varieties: manual and automatic.
Manual Transfer Switch
A manual transfer switch requires you to physically switch the power source between your primary source and your generator. Turning off the main breaker and connecting the generator’s power cord to the transfer switch will accomplish this. A manual transfer switch is affordable and reliable for small backup power systems.
Automatic Transfer Switch
On the other hand, an automatic transfer switch will switch to your backup generator when it senses that your main power source isn’t working. It can turn on the generator, transfer the load, and shut it off when the primary power source returns. Larger residences or businesses that want a steady power source in the event of a power outage will find this a fantastic solution.
It’s crucial to have a professional electrician install your transfer switch. Incorrect installation can lead to electrocution, fire, and other hazards. They can also ensure that your transfer switch is correctly sized for your generator and home’s electrical load.
Heavy-Duty Extension Cords
During power outages, heavy-duty extension cords connect your generator to your home or appliances. They provide the necessary power transfer while ensuring safety and reliability. When selecting an extension cord for your generator, it is important to consider factors such as amperage, length, and thickness.
An extension cord’s amperage rating tells you how much electricity it can safely handle. If you use more amperage than the cord can handle, it could overheat and start a fire. The length of the cord is also important, as longer cords can cause a voltage drop, which can damage your appliances or cause them to operate inefficiently. The thickness, or gauge, of the cord, is also critical. A higher gauge number indicates a thinner wire, which can result in increased resistance and reduced power transfer.
It’s important to note that heavy-duty extension cords should only be used temporarily, as they are not designed for long-term use. If you need power all the time, you should have a professional install a transfer switch and connect your generator directly to your home’s electrical system.
Lastly, if you need help deciding which extension cord to buy, it’s always best to ask a professional. They can help you choose the right cord for your generator based on how much power it puts out and what it needs. By doing these things, you can make sure your generator works well and safely when the power goes out.
You need a weatherproof cover to protect your generator from rain, snow, and other weather. Also, it keeps your generator’s surface from accumulating dirt and debris. Choosing a weatherproof cover that fits your generator is crucial to ensuring proper protection. Covers of weather-resistant materials, such as heavy-duty vinyl or polyester, are highly recommended.
When purchasing a weatherproof cover, consider the size of your generator and its location. Ensure that the cover is large enough to provide complete coverage but not so large that it can be easily blown away by strong winds. Some covers have additional features, such as vents that prevent condensation buildup and straps and buckles for securing the cover.
Investing in a high-quality weatherproof cover can protect your generator from the elements and make it last much longer. By lowering the need for frequent maintenance and repairs, a cover can also help you save time and money. Choose a cover made for your generator model, and always follow the instructions from the manufacturer for how to use and store it.
Silencer And Muffler
Silencers and mufflers can help reduce the noise of generators, which are typically loud. Silencers come in three varieties: reactive, absorptive, and combination. Absorptive silencers use materials such as fiberglass to absorb the sound waves. In contrast, reactive silencers use chambers and baffles to reflect and cancel out the noise. Combination silencers use both methods for maximum noise reduction.
On the other hand, a muffler is a device usually put in the exhaust system of an internal combustion engine to reduce the noise that the exhaust gases make. Some generators have built-in mufflers, while others may need a separate muffler installed.
It is important to hire a professional to modify your car muffler to work with your generator or to install a separate muffler. Damage to the generator or severe carbon monoxide accumulation can result from improper installation.
With the right upkeep, a portable generator is an investment that should last for many years. If you want to keep your generator running well, you must have a maintenance kit. Consider some of the following crucial issues:
What Should Be Included In A Maintenance Kit?
A good maintenance kit should include generator oil for regular oil changes, air filters to replace dirty or clogged filters, oil filters for oil changes, spark plugs to replace old ones, and funnels for pouring oil into the generator. Some kits may include chamois cloth, a pre-cleaner, and a feeler gauge to check valve clearance and piston ring gaps.
How Do You Use A Maintenance Kit?
Check your generator’s user manual to know how to maintain it properly. Essential maintenance activities include changing the oil every 50–60 hours of use, changing oil filters, changing air filters once or twice a year, replacing spark plugs every 100 hours of use, checking the battery for damage or corrosion (for electric-start generators), checking for oil leaks and corrosion, and cleaning surfaces to prevent rust.
Why Is A Maintenance Kit Important?
Maintaining your generator will assist in guaranteeing that it operates smoothly and lasts longer. It will also save you money in the long run by preventing major repairs or replacements due to neglect.
Remote Wireless Start
A wireless remote start is an add-on that lets you use a wireless remote to start your generator from a distance. It eliminates the need to manually start your generator outside in harsh weather or difficult terrain. With a wireless remote start, you can stay warm inside your home or office while starting your generator with a button.
This part is especially useful for portable generators used on job sites, at outdoor events, on camping trips, and at home. It also benefits people with disabilities, the elderly, or anyone who finds it challenging to start a generator manually.
Remote wireless start systems come in different types and models. Some are battery-operated, while others use the generator itself for power. Most wireless remote starts range up to 80 feet, allowing you to start your generator from a safe distance.
Before buying a generator, check its specifications to ensure it can be started wirelessly from a distance. Consult a technician or check with the manufacturer to avoid compatibility issues.
There are a few things to consider when buying a wireless remote starter.
- The first thing to consider is your generator type, whether, propane gasoline or diesel-powered. Different generators have different start-up procedures. You must ensure the remote start is compatible with your specific generator type.
- The second factor to consider is the range of the remote starter. If you plan to use your generator in a large area or at a work site, you may need a remote start with a longer range to ensure it works even from a distance.
- Lastly, consider the durability of the remote start. Look for one made from weather-resistant materials to withstand harsh weather conditions.
What Is A Fuel Stabilizer?
A fuel stabilizer is a liquid additive added to gasoline or diesel fuel to preserve it. At the same time, it sits in your generator tank. It is designed to prevent fuel degradation, which can cause gum, varnish, or corrosion in your generator’s fuel system. A fuel stabilizer prevents the fuel from reacting with oxygen and other elements in the air.
Why Do You Need a Fuel Stabilizer?
A fuel stabilizer is necessary for any generator owner, especially if you use your generator sparingly. Over time, untreated fuel can degrade and clog the fuel system of your generator. When fuel is left sitting for a long time, it can cause a buildup of gum and varnish in the fuel system, leading to serious engine problems. A fuel stabilizer can avoid these issues, which will keep your generator operating smoothly.
How Does a Fuel Stabilizer Work?
A gasoline stabilizer keeps the fuel from oxidizing and degrading, which is how it functions. By forming a shield around the fuel, it keeps moisture and air from coming into contact with it. This layer stops the fuel from going bad and keeps it fresher for longer. Some fuel stabilizers also contain cleaning agents that help remove any built-up deposits in the fuel system.
How to Use a Fuel Stabilizer?
Using a fuel stabilizer is simple. First, check the fuel tank to ensure it’s empty. Next, add the fuel stabilizer to the fuel tank before adding fresh fuel. Reading the stabilizer bottle’s instructions is essential to ensure you’re using the correct amount. The amount you need to add may vary based on the brand and type of fuel stabilizer. Fill the tank with fresh fuel after adding the stabilizer, then run the generator for a few minutes to ensure the stabilizer is dispersed throughout the fuel system.
Automatic Voltage Regulator
Suppose you rely on a portable generator to power your home or business. In that case, you need an automatic voltage regulator (AVR) to ensure the electricity you receive is stable and safe for all your appliances and devices.
When a generator runs, it produces an alternating-current (AC) output that can vary in voltage and frequency. These fluctuations can cause significant damage to sensitive electronics like computers, televisions, and medical equipment. To prevent this damage, AVRs maintain the voltage output at a consistent level by detecting and adjusting the output voltage.
There are different kinds of AVRs, and how well they work depends on the size of the generator, what it is used for, and the needs of the devices you want to power. Some models have extra features, like surge and circuit protection, that protect them from electrical spikes and overloads.
Make sure the AVR you select is compatible with the brand and model of your generator. Check its voltage regulation range to ensure that it meets your needs. It’s also essential to have a qualified technician install the AVR to ensure that it functions correctly.
A battery charger is an important part of your portable generator. It keeps the battery charged and ready to go in case the power goes out.
Many people think their generators will always have power. Yet, a battery charger is a cheap purchase that can be crucial in an emergency.
When selecting a battery charger, consider the output of the charger. The output is typically 12 volts or 24 volts and depends on the size and capacity of your portable generator. A charger that produces more volts will charge your generator faster. However, ensure it has a feature to lower or disable charging once the battery is fully charged.
It’s also important to remember that keeping your battery charger connected during generator start-up can cause short-circuit problems. If you need to charge your generator while running, look for a charger with short-circuit protection.
A battery charger is a simple and affordable accessory that can save you from a major headache during a power outage. Please keep it on your list of necessities for your generator.
Cold Weather Kit
What Is A Cold Weather Kit?
A cold weather kit is a set of accessories designed to help your portable generator operate smoothly in cold temperatures. These kits usually include an oil heater and a battery warmer. Sometimes they also include a carburetor heater or other items. The oil heater keeps the oil in the generator from solidifying in cold temperatures. At the same time, the battery warmer helps ensure that the battery stays charged and is ready to go in frigid conditions.
Why You Need a Cold Weather Kit?
When temperatures drop, it can be challenging for generators to start and operate properly. Your generator’s oil may thicken in cold weather, making it more difficult for the engine to turn over. The battery can also struggle to maintain its charge in cold temperatures, preventing the generator from starting altogether.
A cold weather kit can help prevent these issues and ensure your generator is ready to go when needed. Keeping the oil warm and the battery charged can keep your generator running smoothly even in harsh winter weather.
How to Choose a Cold Weather Kit?
When choosing a cold-weather kit for your generator, there are a few things to consider. First and first, confirm that the kit is appropriate for the model of generator you have. Moreover, by looking at the kit’s temperature range, you can ensure the kit is appropriate for the temperatures you’ll likely see in your location.
Also, look for a kit with extra parts for cold weather, like a carburetor heater. By doing this, every part of the generator will be safe and ready to be used when needed.
What to Consider When Purchasing Generator Accessories
A generator is necessary when the electricity is out, or you’re camping. To get the most use out of your generator, think about investing in a few extras. Consider the following when selecting generator accessories:
Determine Your Needs
Consider how you will use your generator and where it will be. Suppose you plan on using it for home emergencies. In that case, consider accessories such as maintenance kits or security locks. If you use it for outdoor adventures like camping or RV-ing, consider accessories such as extra fuel tanks or battery charging cables.
Research Popular Products
Do some research to find out what accessories are popular and effective for your specific generator. Find out which accessories are worth buying by reading reviews and suggestions from other customers.
Be sure the accessories you choose are appropriate for your generator. Some accessories may only work with specific types of generators, so check compatibility before purchasing.
Consider your budget when purchasing accessories. While some accessories may be expensive, they can ultimately save you money in the long run by prolonging the life of your generator.
Choose accessories from well-known brands with a reputation for excellence and dependability. You can be sure that your accessories will survive and work as needed by doing this.
It’s crucial to consider your needs and budget while selecting generator accessories. Spend some time researching and selecting the accessories that will improve the performance of your generator.
Having the right parts for your generator makes a big difference in how well and smoothly it works. Your generator needs a maintenance kit with necessary parts like oil, air filters, and spark plugs to stay in good working order. While choosing accessories, take into account your unique requirements and usage. For example, those who live in colder locations may consider a cold weather kit and those who use their generator for home backup power might consider a security kit. With the correct accessories, your generator may function as a dependable power source for many years.